By Wyatt Goolsby
STANTON - In the next few weeks, Martin County residents will soon start to hear more about the need for a new hospital. Officials are trying to send out a simple message: the facilities they have now just aren't cutting it. On Thursday, NewsWest 9 learned more about the recently announced May 8th bond election, and why they're pushing to get rid of the old building.
"It was not designed to be a hospital in the extent that we are trying to do medicine now. It's not meeting 21st century medicine," Paul McKinney, Martin County Hospital Administrator, said.
It's no secret at first glance, the Martin County Hospital on St. Peter Street in Stanton has seen better days. It was first built in 1949, and Administrator Paul McKinney said now's the time for a new one.
"Just in general the building is falling apart on us," McKinney said. "We're spending money all the time on plumbers and air conditioning, heating specialists to keep us going, and we're just falling apart."
McKinney said the rain on Monday didn't help with the roof. He also pointed to other problems including some of their equipment (like in the operating room) being so old you'd probably see it in a museum, and the front doors don't always open all the way.
He also explained concerns over the location of the hospital being in the middle of a neighborhood, not always easily visible in case of an emergency. In addition, large amounts of trash from the hospital can pile up in the neighborhood, and emergency ambulances and helicopters could be coming in at any time during the day or night.
Stanton Resident Darrell Bradshaw, who was born in the same hospital building in 1954, told NewsWest 9 most locals find the helicopter to be an interesting site, and says he doesn't mind living next to the hospital. He says he would be willing to vote for building a new hospital in a May bond election.
"People who are injured or who need medical care, they have to go to either Midland, Big Spring or Odessa, so having a hospital here in Stanton is very important," Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw and other Martin County residents will weigh in on a $22.85 million dollar bond in the May 8th election. If passed, the plan would take all the medical services, hospital, Physical Therapy, EMS, Home Health clinic, and put them all in one location right off I-20. In addition, the tax rate for a $100,000 dollar home, would go up $100 to $110 dollars per year.
"We know that there will always be opposition to raising taxes," McKinney explained. "I hope they give us a chance to express what we are trying to do and why we need to do it in our town hall meetings that we are going to have in April. [We hope to] provide all the information so they can make an educated decision as to whether we need this or not."
Stay with NewsWest 9 as we will release all the dates for upcoming Martin County town hall meetings as that information becomes available.